5 Tips for Setting Up The Best Ergonomic Workstation
For most people, their workstation is the place where they spend at least forty hours a week, if not more. With a poorly set up workstation, your body will begin to feel the strain in just a few weeks, and over the course of several years you could cause some serious damage to your neck, spine, wrists and other joints. The good news is that plenty of studies have been done about ergonomic workstation elements, bringing you a full suite of products and recommendations to help overhaul your work space.
- Adjust Your Seat - In general, you will likely be spending the majority of your day sitting in an office chair. You can adjust the height of your chair up or down to fit your comfort. However, keep in mind that your elbows and wrists should be parallel to the floor. If you find that you are bending your arms and wrists at odd angles to reach your keyboard you are probably also hunching your shoulders and straining your neck. You should also be able to rest your feet flat on the floor without your knees being too high or too low.
- Support Your Lower Back - In an effort to keep up with recent ergonomic workstation studies, most office chairs now offer some form of lumbar support. The curve in your lower back must be supported, especially since so many people tend to hunch forward over their keyboards as they work. If your office chair does not have lumbar support, you can buy a pillow or back rest made specifically for this purpose and practice sitting back from your computer as far as possible to relax your back.
- Place Your Computer Screen at Eye Level - Your computer screen should be located directly in front of your face with the center at eye level, and it should be 20-40 inches from your face, allowing you to see the entire screen without twisting your head and neck constantly. Placing the monitor at the correct height will also keep you from looking up or down frequently, which also strains the neck and shoulders.
- Keep Your Keyboard and Mouse Straight - Again, many workers find that they are twisting their wrists uncomfortably to type, or to use track pads on their laptops. Using an external mouse off to one side of your keyboard will allow you to spread your hands out to shoulder width and keep your wrists comfortable.
- Consider A Headset - People who are constantly answering phones at work are also expected to type and complete other tasks as they go. More often than not this means balancing the phone on your shoulder and straining your neck to keep it in place to free up your hands. Years of repeating this action can have some serious implications on your spine. Opt for a hands-free headset at your ergonomic workstation to eliminate this problem down the road.
Building the perfect ergonomic workstation will take some time. You must first learn to be cognizant of the bad behaviors and poor posture that you have picked up in the past. As you begin building your new workstation, be deliberate about ensuring that each element of your day is addressed whether it is typing, answering calls, or filing papers. Most importantly, don't forget to take breaks and move around a little to reduce any stress in your body.
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